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1 This article was downloaded by: [ ] On: 07 July 2015, At: 10:00 Publisher: Routledge Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: Registered office: 5 Howick Place, London, SW1P 1WG Teacher Development: An international journal of teachers' professional development Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: Effective follow-up strategies for professional development for primary teachers in Namibia Margo C. O'Sullivan a a Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland Published online: 20 Dec To cite this article: Margo C. O'Sullivan (2002) Effective follow-up strategies for professional development for primary teachers in Namibia, Teacher Development: An international journal of teachers' professional development, 6:2, , DOI: / To link to this article: PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content ) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content. This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at

2 Teacher Development, Volume 6, Number 2, 2002 Effective Follow-Up Strategies for Professional Development for Primary Teachers in Namibia MARGO C. O SULLIVAN Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland ABSTRACT It is widely accepted in the literature that follow-up is critical to effective professional development, particularly in developing countries. However, very little empirical research has been conducted which supports this view, illuminates the followup processes used or demonstrates the effectiveness of particular follow-up strategies. This article begins to address this gap. It emerged from a three-year research study of a professional development programme for mainly unqualified Namibian primary teachers. The article begins with a summary of this programme and its role within the newly reformed Namibian education system. It summarises the associated research study and discusses the literature relevant to follow-up. It then explores and illuminates effective follow-up strategies used within the professional development programme. They are divided into two broad areas: trainer follow-up strategies and teacher follow-up strategies. The trainer strategies were lesson observation, learner assessment, progress meetings, checklists, trainer role and demonstration lessons. The teacher strategies were workshop handouts, diaries, self-evaluation forms and peer coaching. The article concludes with an examination of the effectiveness of these strategies. Introduction The most important of all characteristics of the effective IST (in-service training) program is that it ensures provisions for implementation in the classroom of the acquired learning (Rust & Dalin, 1990, p. 75) an urgent need for effective follow-through if these courses are to bear much lasting fruit (Vivian, 1969, pp , cited in Rust & Dalin, 1990, p. 67) The above quotes illustrate the view in the literature that follow-up is critical to effective professional development in developing countries (Greenland, 1983; Lockheed & Verspoor, 1991; Heneveld & Craig, 1996). However, very little empirical research in developed or developing countries has been 181

3 Margo C. O Sullivan conducted which supports the view, highlighted in the quotes, that follow-up is critical to effective professional development, throws light on follow-up processes or demonstrates the effectiveness of particular follow-up strategies. This article aims to address this gap. For the purposes of this article, which is based on work in a developing country, the author will focus on follow-up strategies in developing countries. It emerged from a three-year action research study of a professional development programme for 145 unqualified and underqualified primary teachers in Namibia. The article provides insights into effective follow-up strategies, which should be useful to professional development planners, providers and trainers in developing country contexts similar to the research context. The insights are also potentially useful in Western contexts. The article explores the follow-up strategies used by the author, in her role as a trainer on the professional development programme. These include lesson observations, progress meetings, checklists, learner assessments and demonstrations. The article examines the strategies used by the teachers: workshop handouts, diaries, self-evaluation forms and peer coaching. The Professional Development Programme Namibia, as the last colony in Africa, gained her independence from South Africa in She inherited an inequitable segregated education system, with education for Whites being far superior to education for Blacks. For example, the expenditure per pupil during the 1986/1987 academic year was 3,212 rands for White pupils and 329 rands for Owambo (the largest Black tribal group in Namibia) pupils (Salia-Bao, 1991). A comment by Chamberlain (1990, p. 12) illustrates the poor state of the inherited education system: it would be hard to find a country anywhere in which education (and teacher) standards were lower for the majority of the population at the advent of Independence. The Ministry of Education (MEC) immediately set about reforming all aspects of this system. The reforms provided a particular challenge for professional development: 60% of the teachers are unqualified with a further 30% underqualified... over 99% of the untrained teachers are in the 10 black administrations and 80% of underqualified (MEC, 1990, p. 23). The training received by teachers prior to independence was considered inadequate by the MEC and led them to use the term underqualified to refer to the trained teachers. The inadequacy descriptor is apt, in the light of the low standard of training which the teachers received: the course was very theoretical, with very little attention devoted to teaching practices. As this large cadre of unqualified and underqualified teachers were the ultimate implementers of most of the reforms, their professional development became a matter of considerable concern to the MEC. This led to a number of professional development initiatives. This article is based on the follow-up strategies used within an externally funded initiative. 182

4 FOLLOW-UP STRATEGIES FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT The scope of the MEC s (1993a) reform initiatives was vast. Consequently, the MEC sought the aid of international donors to support them. I was involved in one donor-supported project, the English Language Teacher Development Project (ELTDP), which emerged from their plea for help. It was funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and managed by the Centre for British Teachers (CfBT). The project aimed to support teachers efforts to implement English Language Teaching (ELT) reforms. Reforms relevant to ELT included the introduction of a communicative approach to the teaching of the four language skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening; learner-centred approaches; and continuous assessment. These reforms are noted in the new English syllabus introduced in They were critical of the medium of instruction policy which replaced Afrikaans with English as the medium of instruction from senior primary (grades four to seven) (MEC, 1993b). The ELTDP employed a large number of expatriate staff (19 in 1997) that worked at both pre-service and in-service level, in all seven education regions of Namibia. Between 1995 and 1997 I was based at one of these regions and was given responsibility to design, conduct and evaluate a professional development programme for 145 unqualified (76%) and underqualified primary teachers. A significant number of the unqualified teachers had not completed their secondary education. The professional development programme had three parts: ƒ a needs assessment exercise (January to May 1995); ƒ four training circuits (June to December 1995; January to June 1996; July to December 1996; January to June 1997); ƒ an evaluation exercise (July to September 1997). I drew on the professional development literature to develop an INSET (In- Service Education and Training) Strategies Model, which guided the training circuits (see Figure 1). Figure 1. INSET strategies model for the professional development programme. 183

5 Margo C. O Sullivan The stages of the model corresponded to professional development strategies. I use the term strategy to refer to a generic grouping of tactics (Zaltman et al, 1977) and the course of action or method needed to facilitate an optimum level of adoption of an innovation (Hurst, 1983). Each of the four training circuits followed the stages of the INSET strategies model. The model drew mainly on Henderson s (1979) school-focused model and Avalos s (1985) procedural model, which she had drawn from the notable Joyce & Showers (1980) theory-demo-practice-feedback professional development model. Henderson s (1979, p. 21) model had three elements: identification and definition of needs, development and execution of appropriate professional development activities to meet these needs, and evaluation. The Research Study I used the professional development programme to conduct doctoral research into the development of effective professional development strategies. Followup, one stage of the model, was one of these strategies. It was a broad strategy. I used the term micro-strategies to refer to specific follow-up strategies within it, such as lesson observation and peer coaching. I conducted the study within an action research approach. A definition that usefully defines the action research approach I used is Elliott s (1991, p. 69) view of action research: the study of a social situation with a view to improving the quality of action within it. As the main concern of my study involved action and the improvement of action, I sought to develop effective professional development strategies, which would support teachers implementation of ELT reforms. I opted to use an action research approach for the study. It best enabled me to address my research questions. I drew on Elliott s (1991) action research cycle to develop a cycle appropriate to my study. My cycle included the following stages: reconnaissance, hypotheses, planning, action, monitoring and reflection. Effectively, reconnaissance data led me to hypothesise about the effectiveness of a particular professional development strategy in the research context; I tried it out, monitored its use in practice and reflected upon its effectiveness. The reflection and further reconnaissance data led to the refinement, adaptation or abandoning of the strategy for subsequent cycles. Numerous professional development strategies were explored and developed within this approach. Consequently, as in Stuart s (1991) groundbreaking action research study in Lesotho, many action research cycles were going on throughout my three-year study. I used a variety of data collection methods to inform the action research cycles: semi-structured and unstructured observations, lesson observations, learner assessments and documents (O Sullivan, 1999). The Research Study Schools The extensive needs assessment exercise (January to May 1995) presented a picture of the schools participating in the professional development 184

6 FOLLOW-UP STRATEGIES FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT programme similar to the typical developing country schools described in various studies: temporary stick buildings and classrooms under trees, poor resources, learners having to share textbooks and having nothing to write with, little support or in-service training provided to the unqualified and underqualified teachers, reliance on rote methods, generally poor classroom teaching and ineffective head teachers (Avalos, 1986; Hawes & Stephens, 1990; Rust & Dalin, 1990; Lockheed & Verspoor, 1991). The schools were located in isolated rural settings, with poor roads making access difficult. Communication was also a significant problem, with no postal or telephone system at most of the schools. Follow-Up Follow-up, as pointed out in the introduction, is widely supported in the literature. It is considered critical to effective implementation of professional development in the classroom. Yogev (1997) in an extensive review of the professional development literature found that the limited implementation of training in classrooms in industrialised countries could be attributed to lack of follow-up support. Evidence is slowly accumulating which indicates a similar problem in developing countries (Lamb, 1995). Beeby (1980, p. 466) outlines the rationale for follow-up: Without continuing encouragement and support [upon completion of workshops and courses], the average teacher has a remarkable capacity for reverting back to old practices under a new name. Joyce & Showers (1980) use the term transfer to explain the rationale. Their notable procedural professional development model suggests the use of coaching [intense lesson observation and feedback] to follow-up training and support teachers efforts to transfer training to the classroom. In my opinion, Fullan s (1991) phenomenology of change forms an underlying theoretical framework for follow-up: Neglect of the phenomenology of change that is, how people actually experience change as distinct from how it might have been intended is at the heart of the spectacular lack of success of most reforms (Fullan, 1991, p. 4). The process of implementing change is a complex, difficult and often painful process. It can be very deep, striking at the core of learned skills, philosophy, beliefs and conceptions of education, and creating doubts about purpose, sense of competence, and self-concept (Havelock & Huberman, 1977). It inevitably involves loss, anxiety, uncertainty and struggle as people grapple with the meaning of change. Consequently, teachers need adequate support to enable them to cope with and successfully implement change. As professional development ultimately seeks to bring about change in teacher practice, professional development providers and trainers need to consider the phenomenology of change in order to ensure implementation. Follow-up support facilitates this. 185

7 Margo C. O Sullivan Even though the extensive support in the literature for follow-up is not adequately substantiated by empirical research, some significant empirical evidence has emerged. Most recently, Harvey s (1999) study uses evidence from the evaluation of the Primary Science Programme in South Africa to explore the effectiveness of coaching. Coaching involves the provision by a colleague or an expert of intensive classroom support to teachers efforts to apply new practices to their classrooms (Joyce & Showers, 1980). In the case of Harvey s study, this involved the observation of lessons and the provision of feedback to the teacher about the effectiveness of strategies, which teachers had been introduced to at workshops and observed in the lesson. The findings showed that teachers who received coaching made substantial changes [in their classroom teaching], whereas most teachers who received workshopsonly remained similar to the control group [who received no training] (Harvey, 1999, p. 191). A few developing country studies reported by Avalos (1985) and Hayes (1995) support this finding. Harvey s study also reflects findings from a similar experimental study conducted in the USA in 1982 (Joyce & Showers, 1988). In an earlier study, Joyce & Showers (1980) found that l0 to 15 practices with feedback of a specific skill or teaching strategy are needed by teachers to enable them to use it effectively and creatively. Miles & Huberman (1984) support their claim and found that it may take 6 to l8 months of practice under supervision before a teacher achieves mastery of a skill. There are a number of strategies, such as diaries and progress meetings, which can usefully provide follow-up support. Dove (1986) points out, however, that few studies have measured the effectiveness of teacher support methods. Similarly, few studies illuminate the process involved in using these follow-up strategies. My research begins to address this gap: it explored many strategies. It needs to be pointed out that I consider classroom-based support strategies, most notably lesson observations, as particularly useful. Spark s study (1983, cited in Esu, 1991, p. 192) found that... unless those who organise inservice training visit the teachers in the classroom following the inservice training, little transfer of knowledge takes place. A review of the literature, however, only revealed a handful of studies of professional development in developing countries that had used lesson observation to follow up training (Verspoor, 1989; Lockheed & Verspoor, 1991; Hayes, 1995). Heneveld & Craig s (1996) World Bank study highlights this lack of attention. Only four of the 26 projects used lesson observation to follow-up professional development. The Research Findings I used two broad types of follow-up strategies: trainer and teacher strategies. The trainer strategies took place within school visits. At the end of the training process (workshop) stage of each training circuit I visited all 31 schools participating in the professional development programme [1] to follow-up the 186

8 FOLLOW-UP STRATEGIES FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT training conducted within the workshops. Each day-long visit involved the following activities: ƒ I observed each teacher teaching a lesson based on what he or she had learned at the previous workshop. ƒ I provided teachers with some feedback on the lesson, discussed their progress with them and any implementation problems they had experienced. ƒ I checked and discussed the implementation of items listed on a checklist based on the previous workshop. ƒ I demonstrated specific skills, methods and approaches, in classrooms. ƒ I supervised peer coaching. ƒ I heard learners read, held conversations with them and looked at their exercise books. ƒ I conducted meetings with principals and staff. The teacher follow-up strategies were provided by the teachers themselves and included workshop handouts, diaries, self-evaluation forms and peer coaching. In the light of limited resources I felt they would compensate for the lack of opportunity to provide more intense trainer support. This section will throw some light on the processes involved in all the follow-up strategies developed during the professional development programme. The follow-up strategies had three functions: supportive, evaluative (formative and summative), and training. As all the follow-up strategies ultimately aimed to support teachers efforts to implement the training in their classrooms, the evaluative and training functions also had an underlying supportive function (see Table I). Follow-up strategy Supportive Formative evaluation Summative evaluation Training Lesson observation Learner assessment Progress meetings Checklists Demonstration lessons Video Workshop handouts Diaries Self-evaluation forms Peer coaching Table I. Functions of follow-up strategies. The follow-up activities were useful in fulfilling the supportive function. A number of comments from teachers indicate this: 187

9 Margo C. O Sullivan We know you will come to see us, so we try hard to try out the workshop ideas. (Interview, 8 October 1996) It s good that you come as we can ask you for help with our problems when we try out the new skills from the workshops, before nobody ever came to visit us in our classrooms. (Interview, 18 March 1996) The evaluative function was both formative and summative. For the summative function, follow-up strategies, particularly lesson observations and assessment of learners English skills, highlighted the extent to which teachers implemented the training in their classrooms, thus indicating its effectiveness or otherwise. For the formative function, follow-up strategies indicated some problems that teachers were having with implementation. I used this data to feed into the needs assessment stage of the next training circuit. The training function involved my use of samples of good practice (skills, methods and activities), which I observed within some lessons, as training content and tools in subsequent workshops. These samples included effective implementation of skills teachers learned at workshops and effective methods and activities which teachers had come up with themselves. For example, I observed one teacher effectively using sand as a writing tool. For her lesson she brought her learners outside and they wrote words and sentences on the sand. All of the schools were built in sandy areas. Consequently, I suggested to teachers at the next workshops that they use sand to address the problem of paper and pencil shortages in the schools. With the teachers permission I generally videoed or photographed the samples of good practice and used this in training sessions. I found these samples to be particularly effective training tools as teachers could see the effective implementation of skills in contexts exactly like their own and this inspired them to develop their ability to master the use of the skill. Trainer Follow-Up Strategies 1. Lesson Observation I found lesson observation a particularly useful follow-up strategy. It effectively supported teachers efforts as they grappled with implementing new skills and activities. It supported the phenomenology of change they were experiencing. My efforts to use lesson observations involved the consideration of a number of methods and issues (O Sullivan, 1999). I will briefly explore some of them here. I was drawn to Cogan s (1973) clinical model of supervision. It is not, Lillis (1992) points out, snoopervision. The aim is not to inspect but to help teachers to discover strengths and weaknesses, to assist them to regularly and systematically examine personal teaching, and see if there is a mismatch between intentions and actions (Smyth, 1986). The supervisor/tutor guides, counsels, encourages self-reflection and coaches (Cauvas & Handel, 1987). The 188

10 FOLLOW-UP STRATEGIES FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT underlying assumption is that neither the supervisor nor the teacher is the final authority on the right way to teach (Smyth, 1986). I drew particularly on Smyth s model of pre-observation conference, observation, analysis and postobservation. Efforts to use the pre-observation and post-observation elements raised questions about the appropriateness of the model to developing country contexts. Efforts to adopt a counselling role failed. For example, reading one grade 2 teacher s lesson plan during a pre-observation conference highlighted problems with the content of the lesson. She had based her lesson on a twopage text which was significantly too long for a thirty-minute lesson. Initially I tried to use a counselling/reflective approach. I asked her: You are introducing the learners to five new words. Do you think the learners will know all of the other words in the text? Do you think you will have time to get through all of this text with the learners? (Recorded pre-observation session, 17 August 1995) The teacher s answers were: I don t know, You tell me. I had to use a suggestive prescriptive approach. I explained why the text would not work (it was simply beyond the capacity of the learners) and suggested alternative ideas which were more appropriate. Similar examples emerged during postobservation sessions. When I asked teachers: What was good about the lesson?, and What could be improved?, invariably the answers were: I don t know, and/or You tell me. My study indicated that a clinical supervision model was not appropriate to the research context. It assumes that the teacher can reflect, a skill which was beyond the capacity of the teachers participating in the professional development programme. A number of reasons can be used to explain this: the teachers were not familiar with reflective approaches; they did not have an adequate professional foundation upon which to reflect; and their previous impoverished education within an apartheid society had not empowered them to reflect (O Sullivan, 1999). I provided training activities which led to the development of teachers reflective skills (O Sullivan, 2002). However, their reflective skills never reached a Western level of reflection upon which clinical models are based. At times it was possible to coax an answer from a teacher concerning their lesson; however, this only began to happen towards the end of the third training circuit. I still found, however, that lesson observation was a critical follow-up method. It provided teachers with some guidelines about their lessons and highlighted training needs which I addressed in the next training circuits. This data did not emerge from any of the other follow-up strategies. I used lesson observation forms to record the lesson observation data. The forms had pre-determined indicators noted in the format of a series of question and a rating scale (see Appendix). The indicators emerged from an ELTDP lesson observation form, the literature and previous teaching and training experience in Nigeria. I made the final decision concerning the 189

11 Margo C. O Sullivan indicators and my choice raises issues of subjectivity. I used reflexivity to address this; I reflected on the extent to which my underlying views on effective teaching skills and methods influenced my choice of indicators. I feel, however, that my use of a variety of sources for the skills addresses this somewhat. Similarly, the aims of the professional development programme, to develop teachers skills in an effort to support their implementation of ELT reforms, provided an external influence on my choice of indicators. My decision to use a system of grading to record lesson observation data raised the issue of observer bias. I was concerned about the subjective nature of grading. A large number of factors can potentially influence judgement. Posner (1985) indicates that some observers favour or dislike certain processes, and their personal feelings may affect judgements of effectiveness and quality. I used other observers as reliability checks on my grading: colleagues, Ministry officials, friends working in education, and teachers participating in this study (Brophy & Good, 1994). On occasion (generally in ten lessons per training circuit) they would observe a lesson with me using the same form and I would compare their grades with mine. They were generally the same. Wragg (1994) adds that the use of rating scales is likely to be more valid when used by an observer like myself, who sees lots of lessons and builds up experience of assigning grades in different contexts. The reflexive process also needs to be brought to bear on the effect of the observer on classroom activities. Samph (1976) planted microphones in classrooms and then sent unexpected observers some weeks later. He found that teachers made more use of questions and praise, and were more likely to accept pupils ideas, when an observer was present. My presence was potentially more significant. I was a White female observing Black unqualified teachers, most of who had never been observed before. I addressed this by using other data to corroborate lesson observation data. For example, an examination of learners writing books at the end of a lesson observation indicated a poor standard of writing. This raised questions about the lesson in which learners wrote excellent sentences. In view of the writing books, the lesson had obviously been rehearsed; the children had already practised writing the excellent sentences. I used learner assessment data throughout the professional development programme to effectively address the issue of rehearsed lessons. 2. Learner Assessment This strategy had a formative and summative evaluation function. During each school visit I heard three learners in every class reading a known and unknown text; I examined learners written exercise books; and I held conversations with them. This indicated the extent to which teachers implementation of the training led to improvements in children s learning, the ultimate aim of all professional development programmes. It also highlighted training needs. For example, while hearing learners read in a number of 190

12 FOLLOW-UP STRATEGIES FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT classrooms during the second circuit of training, I noticed that they were sounding out individually all the letters in the word that and attempting to put them together. This indicated that teachers needed further training on using phonics. The teacher had obviously not taught the children about digraphs [two letters such as th making one sound]. I addressed this during the next workshop. 3. Progress Meetings The post-observation sessions took place within what I termed progress meetings. Once a teacher had received some feedback on the lesson observed, we discussed his/her general progress since previous observations. I highlighted improvements and suggested areas that still needed development. I kept records of each teacher s progress. Interview data suggests that the progress meetings motivated teachers to try to improve. Teachers comments illustrate this: We know you will come and see how we get better, nobody else ever came into our classroom and talk to us about how we get better. (Interview at a school, 1 October 1996) You know us and how we teach. (Interview at a workshop session, 3 February 1997) The latter comment highlights a criteria for effective follow-up: the trainer s development of professional knowledge of the teachers. The use of many follow-up visits enabled me, the trainer, to get to know teachers professionally. This enabled me to better support them. I recall finding it difficult to work with a group of 15 teachers who joined the programme in mid I did not know them professionally as well as the other teachers. A diary entry highlights this: I now see how important it is to get to know the teachers professionally. I m only starting out with these teachers and I can t help them as much (2 August 1996). I feel that I would have been able to get to know the teachers even better professionally, and thus provide more effective support, if I had not had the responsibility to follow-up so many (145) teachers. A smaller number of teachers would have enabled me to offer them what Joyce & Showers (1980) termed coaching. 4. Checklists I experimented with the use of checklists as a follow-up strategy during the second training circuit. I hypothesised that they would guide teachers practising of the workshop content. At the end of the workshop I listed items based on it, such as their self-evaluation forms and displays, which I would examine upon my visit. I distributed this list to teachers. I used it during both 191

13 Margo C. O Sullivan the progress and staff meetings. By the third training circuit I found it useful for a number of reasons. First, it enabled me to support teachers implementation of some higher-order skills, such as writing schemes of work, which I could not support during lesson observations. Teachers knew I would ask to see these schemes, as they were an item on the checklist. Second, it addressed the rehearsed lesson issue. The checklist indicated to teachers that I would assess learners English skills and use this as a check against rehearsed lessons. The example of the writing lesson presented earlier illustrates this. Third, checklists acted as both a motivating and supporting force for a number of teachers. A comment from a teacher illustrates this: The list keeps in my mind what I must do to prepare (interview at a school, 22 September 1996). Many teachers, however, lost the list and consequently did not benefit from its use. This raised the issue of trainer role. 5. Trainer Role The literature tends to favour the trainer adopting a supportive role to training and follow-up. I adopted a supportive, rather than inspectorial, role for the first two training circuits. Consequently, I informed teachers of the dates of my visits. Reflection on my evaluation of the second training circuit, however, led me to question the effectiveness of a supportive role. My diary reveals that many teachers had not even bothered to read over the training notes, others had lost them and the checklists (diary entries, 4 May 1996). A significant number of teachers had not used the resources they had made at the workshops to create displays in their classrooms or as teaching aids. Some teachers had not implemented the new skills they had learned at workshops. Fullan s (1991) phenomenology of change can be used to explain this: teachers were still grappling with the new skills and approaches and they needed further training and support. However, a number of teachers who had the same impoverished educational and professional background had improved, and had implemented what they had learned at the workshops. I asked myself: what is it about these teachers that leads to them using their training and developing their skills? One of the answers emerged from a comment from my guide: They work hard. The others they don t work enough. They need to be persuaded (5 May 1996). I hypothesised that the less fashionable pressure approach might be useful in encouraging the not so hard-working teachers to put some effort into developing their skills. The teachers were familiar with this approach from their experiences during the South African apartheid era, and perhaps the leap to supportive approaches was too great for many of them at that time. During the third training circuit workshops, I lectured the teachers about their responsibilities in improving their skills. I pointed out that skills are not developed in a vacuum and that they require hard work. I indicated that I was not willing to continue to work hard to support the development of their skills, if they were not prepared to also work hard. This type of lecture is not 192

14 FOLLOW-UP STRATEGIES FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT theoretically fashionable. It breaks all the androgogical principles of training adults. It marked the movement from an exclusively supportive role to a pressure role in training. I tried out a number of pressure strategies. For example, I wrote as a self-reflective sheet, lists of all the items from the previous workshops that had not been implemented in many schools. I distributed it during the workshop for discussion and reflection. I also used photographs and video clips to highlight that some teachers were implementing training. I forwarded reports to the principals which did not try to gloss over the problems I observed during the follow-up school visits. A third strategy is relevant to this article and was inspired by comments from a number of principals: It s better if they don t know when you are coming and then they can t prepare a special lesson (interview with a principal, 9 July 1996). Consequently, I decided not to tell teachers or principals the exact day of my visit to their schools. Follow-up lesson observations during this third training circuit indicated dramatic improvements in teachers implementation of the workshop content. These improvements can be attributed to Fullan s (1991) phenomenology of change; teachers had come to terms with the new skills. I contend that the pressure approach, though it is difficult to conclusively prove, is another explanation for the dramatic improvements during the third training circuit s follow-up visits. 6. Demonstration Lessons I generally demonstrated parts of lessons during my visits, for example, the teaching of phonics, the use of reading cards for extensive reading, communicative activities and so on. It was not possible to prepare adequately a full lesson for a class with whom I was not familiar. I also demonstrated particular techniques and methods which individual teachers were having problems with. Discussion always ensued. These demonstration lessons also usefully enabled me to determine the appropriateness of particular teaching strategies for the learners and alerted me to potential problems for teachers which I may have previously overlooked. For example, when teaching part of a handwriting lesson, the difficulty of teaching a lesson in which children had to share a pencil became obvious. I took this into account when planning a workshop session on teaching handwriting. Teacher Follow-Up Strategies 1. Workshop Handouts During each workshop session, I distributed handouts which I hoped teachers would study upon their return to school. They covered the main aspects of the workshop sessions. Some of the handouts were teaching resources, such as lists of rhymes and games, booklets of tips and workshop activities. I 193

15 Margo C. O Sullivan hypothesised that they would support teachers implementation efforts. Evidence emerged, however, during the first training circuit follow-up stage to indicate that most teachers did not use the handouts. I ve lost them and They re somewhere were typical responses to my suggestion that teachers should study and refer to the notes to facilitate their development. In the second training circuit workshops, I highlighted this problem and pointed out the importance of keeping a file of the professional development programme materials for their use. I distributed a file to each teacher. The checklist indicated that I would examine this file upon my next school visits. Most teachers presented these files to me upon subsequent visits. It is difficult to gather data which indicate the teachers use of the file of handouts, but a number of comments suggest that some teachers, at least, used them. For example: I followed the stages for the communicative lesson to help me (interview at a school, 2 October 1996). 2. Diaries Diaries seem to be used extensively in pre-service. Their use in professional development is less common, and even less so in developing countries, though Stuart & Kunje (1996) used them effectively in Malawi. I hypothesised that they would be useful. Therefore during the second training circuit I devoted one session to developing teachers capacity to use diaries. I distributed a diary (an exercise book) to each teacher. I used videos of lessons taught by teachers not participating in the professional development programme to train teachers to use the diary. I asked them to pretend they were the teachers in a video and to write down what they thought about their lessons. I asked them to write at least two good things and two things which needed to be improved. During follow-up school visits I asked to see the diaries. I found that all teachers did use them, but only for one or two lessons. Comments were also very general, for example, the lesson was not so good (10 April 1996) and the lesson was fine (13 June 1996). Follow-up during the fourth training circuit indicated that only a few teachers used them. It seems to me that lack of support explains this. I did not follow it up as intensely as other training activities. I did not revise its use in workshops as I did with other content areas. I did not mention it during the third training circuit workshops. This suggests that implementation is closely related to continuous follow-up support. 3. Self-Evaluation Forms I hypothesised that self-evaluation forms would focus teachers attention on their own development and would also act as a useful tool of reinforcement. At the end of every workshop after the first one, I distributed self-evaluation sheets to the teachers. These listed reflective questions, based on the workshop content. For example: Do I use revision constantly? Do I praise correct learners mistakes? How? Do I use the extensive reading cards?. 194

16 FOLLOW-UP STRATEGIES FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Teachers graded themselves on their evaluation of their use of each skill, using words which ranged from excellent to poor. I asked them to complete two copies of the form, one shortly after their return to school and the other at the end of the training circuit. The checklist indicated that I would view the forms upon my school visits. Most teachers completed them. I feel that the hypotheses above were realised and that the forms played a useful role in supporting their development. I was unable, however, to gather evidence to conclusively support this. 4. Peer Coaching Peer coaching has attracted much support in the literature (Cogan, 1973; Joyce & Showers, 1988; Gottesman & Jennings, 1994; Eraut, 1995; Wragg et al, 1996). Its rationale is philosophically sound: the in-class support provided by peers facilitates successful implementation of new skills. It facilitates phenomenology of change as illustrated by Cogan: a teacher trying to develop new competencies generally needs the continuing inclass support of specifically trained colleagues in order to be successful... without it the major and minor failures a teacher almost always experiences in attempts to change established behaviour will press him back into familiar safer models of teaching. (Cogan, 1973, p. xi) I was drawn to the rationale, but questioned the extent to which it would be useful in the context of the research, particularly in view of the teachers limited professional capacity. I hypothesised, however, that a peer coaching system might be useful as a method of reinforcing the basic teaching and ELT skills. If teachers focused on these during the observation of colleagues, it would increase their familiarity with them. I also hypothesised that it would increase their confidence, enable them to develop a positive relationship with their colleagues and make them more aware of learners. Before these hypotheses could be tested, I had to train the teachers to use peer coaching during the workshops. During the final session of each of the first training circuit workshops, I distributed five blank lesson observation forms to teachers. I explained the use of these forms: I would use them to evaluate the lessons I observed them teaching and they would use them to observe each other. During the lesson observations, teachers observed their colleagues with me and completed a lesson observation form. They also observed the feedback session and were invited to add any comments. Very few did. However, their completed forms indicated that most of their grades were similar to mine. A comment from a teacher at a workshop session indicated the generally positive attitudes towards peer coaching: it s good to see others teaching (4 July 1995). I then asked teachers to use the other four forms to observe colleagues until the next workshops in

17 Margo C. O Sullivan In an effort to evaluate its effectiveness during the second training circuit workshops, I asked teachers to anonymously complete an evaluation form. Reading the completed forms highlighted that even though teachers in most schools observed a colleague on one occasion, only the teachers in three schools completed the four peer coaching forms. Reasons cited for nonimplementation included: Principal didn t allow us. The other teachers didn t want to. The other teachers will fault me and disgrace me. (Written comments on evaluation forms, 5 February 1996) Considering its apparent effectiveness in the three schools, I hypothesised that it was a worthwhile activity and I planned a number of techniques which I hoped would develop teachers use of peer coaching. They included the use of tips handouts which listed the dos and don ts of peer coaching; the use of role-play to develop the skills of pre- and post-lesson observation; and the use of videoed lessons to develop their skills of observation. Monitoring of these techniques during the workshop indicated that teachers understood the rationale for peer coaching more clearly, were able to use the necessary skills and were committed to it. I included the checking of peer observation forms on my checklist. This indicated that most teachers did actually observe their colleagues at least twice. However, the forms tended to mainly include grades for the various skills, with very little suggestive comments. Thus, I questioned the usefulness of the system for the person being observed. However, I must point out that the process was probably more useful to the observers, in terms of familiarising themselves with the teaching skills on the form. I also included a session on peer coaching during the third training circuit workshops. This was mainly concerned with showing teachers how to do peer coaching without a printed form. I asked teachers to write at least two good points about the lesson and two suggestions for improvement. I was aiming for sustainability here, as once the professional development programme was completed, teachers would not have access to the printed forms. I also felt that the forms had served their purpose of reinforcing the skills. Follow-up highlighted the lessening interest in peer coaching. Most teachers only observed their colleagues on one occasion, although a few schools had become committed to peer coaching. A study of a number of the forms offered a reason for this. The suggestions were very superficial and were not of much use in helping teachers. The forms generally listed only one or two positive points and suggestions. For example, one form listed the good points Classroom movement good and use of voice good, and the suggestion Make chalkboard writing clearer, its [sic] too small (observation form, 11 September 1997). Teachers tended to mainly focus on lower-order skills. This data suggests that peer coaching as a training approach for unqualified teachers is only useful 196

18 FOLLOW-UP STRATEGIES FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT if it is highly structured and closely followed up. Unqualified teachers are not ready to offer useful advice to their colleagues, particularly about higher-order skills, such as appropriateness of content. Effectiveness of Follow-Up Strategies I used the follow-up school visits for the fourth training circuit to collect summative evaluative data about the professional development programme. I used a number of data collection methods: lesson observations, learner assessments, interviews, evaluation forms, semi-structured and unstructured observations, attendance rate at workshops, photographs and video clips (O Sullivan, 1999). I found lesson observations particularly effective and I used the same lesson observation form to record my observations of 75 of the 87 teachers I observed for the needs assessment exercise (January to May 1995) (see Appendix). I quantitatively analysed the data which emerged from the needs assessment and evaluation forms and compared the analysis of both. It highlighted a significant improvement in all items noted on the observation form. For example, the needs assessment indicated that in 94% of lessons the teacher talked and learners listened throughout the lesson. The evaluation highlighted that this did not happen in any lessons. Figure 2 indicates the significant improvement in teachers average grade for all the teaching skills. Key: A = Excellent; B = Good; C = Average; D = Poor; E = Inadequate. Figure 2. Average percentage grade for skills in 1995 (needs assessment) and 1997 (evaluation). These data illustrate the success of the professional programme, if implementation of the training in the classroom is considered the criteria for evaluating effectiveness. Other evaluation data, most notably learner assessments, further supported the effectiveness of the professional development programme. The needs assessment learner assessment data indicated that 2% of learners could read more than ten words of a 20-word script, and none could read all 20 words. The evaluation indicated a significant 197

19 Margo C. O Sullivan improvement: 58% could read more than ten words and 33% could read all 20 words (O Sullivan, 1999). Summary This article begins to address the gap in the literature which illuminates the processes of particular follow-up strategies. It discussed the functions of follow-up that emerged from the study of a three-year professional development for unqualified and underqualified primary teachers in Namibia (supportive, evaluative and training); described the processes of trainer and teacher follow-up strategies used; and explored issues that emerged. These included the subjective nature of grading, observer bias in choosing indicators for the observation form, and the trainer s adoption of a pressure or supportive role. The research findings outlined in the article should inspire and inform the practice of professional development providers and trainers, particularly those involved in professional development for unqualified primary teachers in developing countries. I consider the professional development strategies discussed to be transferable to similar contexts in developing countries. They may also have implications for follow-up in other contexts. Indeed, some of the limitations of the follow-up strategies were related to contextual factors which, if absent, would increase the effectiveness of a strategy. For example, teachers impoverished educational and professional background prevented the successful use of a clinical model of lesson observation. Teachers were simply not empowered to reflect, in the Western sense, on their lessons. Similarly, the scarce personnel resources limited the intensity of the follow-up support that could be provided. I suggest that more intensive follow-up, also termed coaching, would have led to significantly greater professional development amongst the teachers. In conclusion two messages might be highlighted. The first is the critical role of follow-up for effective professional development and the usefulness of using a number of follow-up strategies. They effectively support teachers implementation efforts. The second is that follow-up is worth serious research attention. I hope this article inspires further research into follow-up strategies; for example, research that explores the views of teachers on the usefulness and effectiveness of professional development strategies would be worthwhile. In view of the critical role of follow-up for effective professional development, further research which usefully informs practice is important. In developing countries, where professional development is often the only teacher training teachers receive, it is critical. Correspondence Margo C. O Sullivan, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, South Circular Road, Limerick, Ireland 198

20 FOLLOW-UP STRATEGIES FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Note [1] This number increased as the professional development programme progressed. By 1997 eight new schools had opened and there were 39 schools participating in the programme. References Avalos, B. (1985) Training for Teaching in the Third World: lessons from research, Teacher Education, 1(4), pp Avalos, B. (1986) (Ed.) Teaching the Children of the Poor: an ethnographic study in Latin America. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre. Beeby, C.E. (1980) The Thesis of the Stages Fourteen Years Later, International Review of Education, 26(4), pp Brophy, J.E. & Good, T.L. (1994) Looking in Classrooms, 6th edition. London: Harper Collins. Cauvas, P. & Handel, G. (1987) Promoting Reflective Teaching: supervision in action. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Chamberlain, D. (1990) The English Language Situation in Post-Independent Namibia, British Council Newsletter, 1, pp Cogan, M. (1973) Clinical Supervision. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Dove, L.A. (1986) Teachers and Teaching in Developing Countries: issues in planning, management and training. Kent: Croom Helm. Elliott, J. (1991) Action Research for Educational Change. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Eraut, M. (1995) Inservice Teacher Education, in L.W. Anderson (Ed.) International Encyclopaedia of Teaching and Teacher Education, 2nd edition. Oxford: Pergamon Press. Esu, A.E.O. (1991) Inservice Teacher Education in Nigeria: a case study, Journal of Education for Teaching, 17(2), pp Fullan, M. (1991) The New Meaning of Educational Change, 2nd edition. London: Cassell. Gottesman, B.L. & Jennings, J.O. (1994) Peer coaching for Education. Pennsylvania: Technomic. Greenland, J. (1983) (Ed.) In-Service Training of Primary Teachers in Africa. London: Macmillan. Harvey, S. (1999) The Impact of Coaching in South African Primary Science InSET, International Journal of Educational Development, 19(3), pp Havelock, R.G. & Huberman, A.M. (1977) Solving Education Problems: the theory and reality of innovation in developing countries. Paris: UNESCO. Hawes, H. & Stephens, D. (1990) Questions of Quality: primary education and development. London: Longman. Hayes, D. (1995) In-Service Teacher Development: some basic principles, ELT Journal, 49(3), pp Henderson, E.S. (1979) The Concept of School-Focused In-Service Education and Training, British Journal of Teacher Education, 5(1), pp Heneveld, W. & Craig, H. (1996) Schools Count: World Bank project designs and the quality of primary education in sub-saharan Africa. World Bank Technical Article, No Hurst, P. (1983) Implementing Educational Change: a critical review of the literature. University of London Institute of Education EDC, occasional paper, No

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